We investigated the origin, localizations and anatomic variations of the renal artery (RA) in human fetuses with the aim of determining the distribution of these variations according to lateralization and gender. In total, 90 fetuses of spontaneous abortion (45 mates, 45 females) with no congenital malformations were included to the study. The abdominal aorta and its branches were dissected after latex solution colored with red ink had been injected into the vessels from the thoracic aorta. In all., 180 RA dissections were performed bilaterally in 90 cases and the anatomic variations were photographed. Right and left RAs were found to originate from the following levels according to the columna vertebratis, respectively: 3.8% and 1.9% tower T-12, 67.3% and 25.0% upper L-1, 9.6% and 28.8% mid L-1, 15.3% and 40.3 lower L-1, 3.8% and 3.8% upper 1/3 part of L-2 vertebra. The right RA originated from the lateral part and anterolateral wall of the abdominal aorta in 73.0% and 26.9% of cases white the lateral. and anterolateral watt origin percentages of left RA were 90.3% and 9.6%, respectively. The origin site of the right RA from the abdominal aorta was superior to, at the same level with, and inferior to that of the left RA in 53.8%, 34.6% and 11.5% of the cases, respectively. There were no variations in 75% of the cases whereas the remaining 25% had several variation patterns. The presented morphological results are as follows: A single hilar artery in 75% of the cases, double hilar arteries in 11.1%, an inferior polar artery in 10.5%, and a superior polar artery in 3.3% of specimens studied. Anatomical variations were observed more frequently among mate fetuses and on the right side. Knowledge of RA variations is important for surgeons in performing many procedures and may help to avoid clinical. complications, especially, during radiological examination and/or surgical approaches in the abdominal. region. (c) 2005 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.